Jacobins aren’t your average, everyday pigeons that flock on your terrace and mess it up with droppings. Take one look at them and you’ll know they are a cut above the rest. How can they not be, with a royal hood of feathers that covers them from the neck up, almost entirely hiding their pretty little heads. I like to think of them as pigeons-in-parkas, which is really high fashion as far as birds are concerned.
Jacobins are one of the oldest domestic pigeon breeds in the world – an excellent exhibition breed with relatively unknown origins. Some believe that that the original breed came from India, while others think they’re natives of Cyprus. They arrived in Europe around the 16th century, where they were put through four stages of development, by breeders, until they evolved into their current state.
Although they have been bred for centuries, Jacobin pigeons have undergone remarkable changes in the past 80 years. They started off rather small, which was popular back in the day. But the current breed of Jacobins are slender and of medium size, with long flight feathers, long legs and slim tails. The most remarkable feature, the ‘rosette’, makes up the hood that completely covers the top and sides of their tiny head. In fact, the bird’s face is only visible from the front. The bigger the hood, the higher the quality of the specimen. And they always maintain an upright posture, adding to their ‘royal airs’.